All across the country, hardcore gamers are counting down the days until November 22, the day of the Xbox 360 launch. In just over a week, those lucky enough to reserve (and afford) one of Microsoft's new consoles will be glued to their HDTVs playing the first wave of next-generation console games.
However, until today, it was still unclear which games 360 owners could kick off the so-called "HD Era" with. The launch-game-lineup picture grew murkier when titles that were thought to be locks fell victim to delays. The platform's most anticipated (read: only) role-playing game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, left many dungeon-crawlers drooling in anticipation of its release. But on Halloween, publisher 2K Games horrified RPG fans, pushing it back to 2006.
The console's lone fighting game, Dead or Alive 4, was among the first 360 titles shown off and was absolutely, positively going to be a launch title. That is, until last Thursday. The game's ship date is now in flux, thanks to an e-mail from EB Games informing its customers that Xbox 360 bundles that included the game will now come with Call of Duty 2 because "Dead or Alive 4 has been delayed until December 1, 2005."
But while two ducks have fallen out of the 360's row, the rest of its launch lineup is assured. Today Microsoft announced the games that will definitely, positively, absolutely be available the day its next-gen console goes on sale. There will be 18 in total, with publisher Electronic Arts leading the way with five games. Sports titles dominate the list, with seven athletically oriented games on the list--10, if one includes the driving category.
The lineup has some genre overlap, although NBA Live 06 and NBA 2K6 are the only two games in direct competition with one other. The next closest battle is on the road, with Project Gotham Racing 3, Ridge Racer 6, and Need for Speed Most Wanted all vying for the racing-game trophy. In the first-person shooter department, Call of Duty 2, Perfect Dark Zero, and Quake 4 will gun for the same audience but will play in very different settings.
Official price points for games have also been released, and Microsoft Game Studios is cutting gamers a break on their three launch games (Perfect Dark Zero, Project Gotham Racing 3, and Kameo: Elements of Power). MGS-published games will retail for $49.99, and third-party games will sell for $59.99. A limited edition of Perfect Dark Zero, with bonus features, will also be available for $59.99. Microsoft also reconfirmed the list of launch peripherals that were announced, along with their prices.
A full list of the Xbox 360 games that will be available by November 22 is listed below. For more information on the console itself, check out GameSpot's Xbox 360 Launch Center.
Amped 3 (2K Sports)
Call of Duty 2 (Activision)
Condemned: Criminal Origins (Sega)
FIFA 06: Road to the World Cup (Electronic Arts)
Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios)
Madden NFL 06 (Electronic Arts)
NBA 2K6 (2K Sports)
NBA Live 06 (Electronic Arts)
Need for Speed Most Wanted (Electronic Arts)
NHL 2K6 (2K Sports)
Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft Game Studios)
Peter Jackson's King Kong (Ubisoft)
Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft Game Studios)
Quake 4 (Activision)
Ridge Racer 6 (Namco)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 (Electronic Arts)
Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (Activision)